Neck or back spasms can be extremely painful and for some patients, spasms can be so bad that they feel like they need to go to the emergency room. The best way to treat spasms is to use a holistic approach geared towards effective treatment and future prevention.
Treatment Options for Neck or Back Spasms
Several treatment options may be used to help alleviate spasms. They include the following:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Over-the-counter and prescription medications that ease pain and decrease inflammation associated with spasms. Common NSAIDs include Advil, Motrin, Aleve, and Celebrex.
- Muscle relaxants. Prescription medications that cause the brain to send signals for the entire body to relax. Muscle relaxants are only used for severe pain. They can be addictive and are only prescribed in small quantities. The most common muscle relaxants are Valium and Flexeril.
- Activity modification. Slowing down or stopping a movement or activity that is causing spasms.
- Applying ice to the area that is experiencing spasms eases pain and decreases inflammation. Before applying ice, patients should always make sure it is wrapped in a towel or protective layer for skin protection purposes.
- Some patients find that heat helps their spasms go away. A heating pad or warm cloth should never be applied directly to the skin.
- Decrease or eliminate caffeine intake. Caffeine can cause muscle dehydration and spasms.
An additional treatment measure that can be used in conjunction with the above-mentioned ones is to lay down in a supine (facing upwards) position with a pillow placed under the knees. This position helps relax the spine.
Prevention of Neck or Back Spasms
Physical therapists are trained medical professionals who can analyze a patient’s posture and muscle strength and flexibility to determine abnormalities or imbalances that are causing spasms. Once the cause of spasms is known, a physical therapist can prescribe a treatment plan that relaxes, stretches, and strengthens the muscles and soft tissues of the spine. Patients who adhere to the treatment plan prescribed by their physical therapist can look forward to a significant improvement in symptom frequency and severity. In many cases, spasms can be completely eliminated.
Seeking Treatment for Neck or Back Spasms
If you are experiencing spasms and want a treatment solution the first and most important step you can take is to make an appointment with one of our awarded Orthopedic Spine Specialists at one of our locations in Long Island, Brooklyn and the Bronx. Once your condition is officially diagnosed, a treatment plan that is right for you will be prescribed. You can expect results when you choose Total Orthopedics and Sports Medicine.